BROOKSVILLE — Mayor David Pugh said Tuesday that he would abandon his pursuit of a state investigation into the filing process for City Council candidates, saying that he didn't want to "waste taxpayer dollars."
Last week, Pugh said he would file a complaint with the Florida Elections Commission because he was concerned about a number of errors in documents filed by other City Council candidates and the perception of bias in the process.
But Pugh later changed his mind, deciding to focus his efforts on a recent proposal from council member Lara Bradburn that would transfer the city's election duties to the Hernando County Supervisor of Elections Office.
"I'm going to gather all the information that I can and present it to the council," Pugh said, "just to reaffirm my position."
The City Clerk's Office now handles candidate filing information and then sends it to the county elections office. Once there, the office places the candidates on the ballot and keeps tabs on their campaign finance information.
Bradburn said she came up with the proposal after a couple of recent problems, including one in which the city staff sent out an e-mail announcing the candidacy of one candidate but failed to do the same for other candidates.
Hernando Supervisor of Elections Annie Williams has said her office could handle the extra duties with little problem — and no extra charge.
"It wouldn't be a burden on us to do that," Williams has said. "That wouldn't pose a problem if that's what they wanted us to do."
Council members have voted to clean up some language in the city's current elections code that some candidates have found to be ambiguous. They will take up the larger issue of whether to transfer the city's election duties to the Supervisor of Elections Office after the forthcoming elections.
Joel Anderson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 754-6120.